ALGONQUIN – With two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, DeKalb junior first baseman Tayler Garland hit a fly ball to left field that looked for a second like it might have the distance.
But it fell short of the wall and landed in the glove of the Barrington outfielder, and that was it for the Barbs’ sectional championship hopes. Barrington collected its second straight sectional title with a 6-4 win over DeKalb on Saturday afternoon in the Class 4A Jacobs Sectional final.
While the Fillies (27-11) mobbed each other in celebration, the Barbs (27-8) shed a few tears as head coach Jeff Davis delivered one last postgame speech. The message? Things just didn’t go their way.
“We struggled a little bit defensively, we really did,” Davis said. “Sometimes you play well, and sometimes you don’t. I think that’s what’s the beauty of this game. The ball could bounce either way. You just don’t know if it’s your day, and today, it wasn’t our day.”
After DeKalb senior pitcher Katie Kowalski took care of the Fillies in the first two innings, the offense looked poised to get on the board in the bottom of the second. A single to left from senior Rachael Johnson loaded up the bases, but the next two batters flied out, and no runs were scored.
That became a trend. On several other occasions, the Barbs had runners in dangerous positions but could not bring them home.
“I think that if we could’ve manufactured a couple more runs when we had the opportunities to, we could’ve been more successful,” DeKalb sophomore right fielder Morgan Newport said.
The Fillies struck first in the top of the third when Katie Dehnert cracked a two-run double off the center field wall, but Newport answered right back in the bottom of the inning. She ended a long at-bat against Barrington pitcher Keenan Dolezal by cranking a two-run homer way over the left field wall.
“I knew that she’s a great pitcher, and I knew that I was going to have to keep battling pitches until I got the one that I wanted,” Newport said. “And when I did, I just kind of took advantage of it.”
Barrington took the lead back on a Rachel MacDonald solo home run in the third, and after holding the DeKalb offense back for three innings, they added to it in the sixth. Poor defense allowed the Fillies to get in scoring position, and three straight batters knocked in a run to make it 6-2.
DeKalb sophomore shortstop Abby Taylor cut into the deficit with a two-run double to left to make it 6-4, but the Barbs couldn’t get over the hump to tie it up. They left a runner on base in each of the last two innings and ultimately came up short.
It was a disappointing end to the successful careers of seniors like Kowalski and Johnson, whom Davis took the time to commend for their contributions to the program.
“These seniors are awesome,” Davis said. “They’ve put their heart and soul and just a bunch of hours and open gyms toward getting better and making the program better. You don’t know when the next group is going to come around that’s that dedicated.”
The “ONE GOAL” written on the DeKalb coaches’ shirts may have not been achieved, but despite the tough loss, it was a season to remember.
“I just had such a fun time with my teammates,” Newport said. “I wouldn’t have wanted to spend it with anybody else.”